The Beverly Hills Hotel, a stately landmark of Hollywood’s most glamorous era, played host to the annual awards ceremony of the 2005 Beverly Hills Film Festival. After an evening cocktail hour and a gourmet meal, the self-proclaimed “mini-Oscars” showcased some of the best and brightest from the world of independent film.
"I’ve worked with a lot of directors... I tell you John’s as good as any of them." - Martin Landau on John Daly
Attendees left the hotel with an ample dose of first-class film legend Martin Landau. The Aryan Couple, in which Landau starred, was the most decorated film of the 2005 festival, taking home four awards (Best Male Performance, Best Producer, Jury Award Best Feature and the Golden Palm Award). Landau, who accepted the awards on behalf of the film, shined in this story of a German/Jewish industrialist in occupied Hungary who is forced to hand over his business to the Nazis in order to ensure his family's safety. The Aryan Couple was directed by veteran producer John Daly. Having produced such mainstream hits as The Terminator, Hoosiers, Platoon and The Last Emperor, this was Daly’s first effort as a director.
“I’ve worked with a lot of directors,” Landau told the audience in his third and final acceptance speech. “I’ve worked with Hitchcock. I’ve worked with Mankiewicz. I’ve worked with George Stevens and Tim Burton. I tell you John’s as good as any of them.”
The other celebrity highlight for fans of decent television came with an acceptance speech from Janine Turner (of Northern Exposure fame, for those of you who missed the “decent” TV reference). Turner wrote and directed Trip in a Summer Dress, for which Kathleen Early won the Best Female Performance award. She graciously accepted the award on behalf of the actress, who was unable to attend.
Area comic Mike Marino emceed the night’s affairs to what seemed like mostly warm reviews. The New Jersey born Marino’s brand of “fish out of water” comedy was enough to keep the crowd chuckling throughout. Although the night was not without its minor hiccups, Marino more than made up for the mishaps with his acerbic East coast wit, “hey, there ain’t no commercial breaks here.”
Other Award Winners:
Best Editor: Ken Mowe Pact
Golden Palm Screenplay Award: Malcolm Corterre How to Love a Man
Best Cinematography: Emre Sahin Canta
Best Foreign Film: Xin Li and Sarah Chin Master of Everything
Jury Award Best Short Film: Danielle Lurie In the Morning
Jury Award Best Documentary: Laura Kightlinger Sixty Spins Around the Sun
Best Screenplay: Alvaro Ron Behind the Curtain
Best Actor Male Performance: Nicholas Bianchi Pact
Audience Choice Award Best Short: Suny Behar Chaos Theory
Audience Choice Award Best Documentary: Nyle Cazavos Garcia Clean
Audience Choice Award Best Feature: Hector Cruz Sandoval Kordavision
Best Animation: Tomek Baginski Fallen Art